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New census population figures to be released next week

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December 15, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

The first Census numbers will be released on December 21, 2010, when states will find out how many congressional seats they will have in the new decade.[1]

One state expected to lose seats is Iowa, despite having an increase in its population.[1]

An attorney close to the state's redistricting effort told the Des Moines Register that they expect Iowa to go from five to four seats in Congress. Ed Cook, Senior Counsel for the Iowa Legislative Service Agency, said that he does not expect the state to move on redrawing boundaries for the General Assembly until February when more census data is released. Despite the fact that the state's population is expected to increase from 2.3 to 3 million, the growth was much slower compared to other states around the country.[1]

Under Iowa law, the Legislative Service Agency draws the boundaries for U.S. Congress and the General Assembly. Population is the only factor allowed by law to be used when drawing boundaries. Also, newly drawn districts cannot deviate from one another less than one percent and no congressional district can have its dividing line splitting two counties. The Governor has until September 15, 2011, to approve a redistricting plan. If a plan is not approved by the Governor, then the Iowa Supreme Court must approve the plan. Legislators can object to a redistricting plan, but the Legislative Service Agency must present a new proposal in response to the objections.[1]

The new figures released on December 21 will impact the apportionment of the Congressional House of Representatives seats.[2] The U.S. Census Bureau has until December 31, 2010 to release new population numbers and congressional apportionment figures to the President of the United States.[3]

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